2010 was a big year with a lot going on for MomoClo. Well, to be honest, the same could be said for almost every MomoClo year, but 2010 was the year that put them on the idol map, I’d say. The biggest thing was that this was the year that MomoClo went major, with the release of Ikuze! Kaitou Shoujo.
Honestly, my praise of Ikuze Kaitou Shoujo knows no bounds. As an idol song, it’s just about perfect, to the point that I would possibly name it the best idol song of the current era of idols. It’s energetic, paced perfectly and has just enough interesting sections. It’s incredibly fun to watch performed live (it’s the song I’m REALLY hoping for the AX performance). Maeyamada Kenichi is the master of creating catchy, memorable idol songs, and Ikuze is one of his best songs. Additionally, the PV is pretty fantastic too; it’s another instance of using what limited resources they have to create something special, using spotlights and a few extra costumes to make something memorable. (That said, the choreographed fight scene is always delightful). Everything in Ikuze is perfect, and it’s no wonder that it’s become Momoiro Clover Z’s most memorable song, despite having more ambitious pieces later on.
However, while the release of Ikuze is personally what caught my interest, what solidified MomoClo as my favorite idol group at the time and what I think lead them to make such a splash in the idol scene was MomoClo’s live performances. While Momoiro Clover’s sales are marginal compared to those of, say, AKB48, they have always excelled in live performances. The six of them have always managed to fill a stage and put on an exhilarating performance, which is part of why I immediately knew that I would have to go see them when they came to LA.
The big performance that I think garnered some serious buzz for MomoClo was from the 2010 Music Japan female idol special.
This show featured some of the biggest names in the idol world – AKB48, Morning Musume, Idoling. Momoiro Clover was grouped off with Tokyo Girls Style and S/Mileage as newer acts. While both of those acts did just fine, Ikuze Kaitou Shoujo was a powerhouse performance, with tons of energy, real dance skill, acrobatics and the television debut of Kanako’s Ebi Jump. While MomoClo always performs well, this performance of Ikuze has stood out for me over the years as being a major stand out performance. While I have no real proof of this, I really do think that this TV performance was part of the start of MomoClo’s rise to fame.
The group did have a couple of hiccups this year; they dealt with controversy with the infamous weigh-in event, where all the members had to be under a certain weight… and Reni didn’t make it. MomoClo ended up switching labels to King Records, and took quite a bit of time to get to their next single, Pinky Johns (yes, it’s not Jones. I’m still shocked it’s Johns and not Jones). However, Pinky Johns ended up being an excellent song with an even better B-Side (Coco*Natsu) and ended up keeping up MomoClo’s momentum nicely. However, Ikuze Kaitou Shoujo remains MomoClo’s biggest success of 2010, and I think that without a song like that they might have never achieved the amount of fame they have gotten now.